Culver City, El Segundo Vie for Playoff Spot
October 11, 2018
The Culver City Centaurs are hosting the El Segundo Eagles, and it’s a very important night. Not only are the Cents most likely playing for second place in the Ocean League and a playoff berth, but tonight is also Homecoming and Senior Night.
Since it is Homecoming, it is interesting to note that El Segundo head coach Steve Shevlin will feel right at home because he is a Culver High alum. Both teams will feel the pressure to do well in this game because the stakes are high as the results will go a long way in determining the playoff pairings. However, El Segundo has the toughest remaining schedule, as they have to face Lawndale at home followed by Santa Monica on the road.
The Eagle attack is similar to Culver’s in that it is a quarterback driven offense. They are led by two-year starter Matt Romero who has completed 83 out of 131 passes for 953 yards and 11 touchdowns through the first 6 games. He has completed 63% of his passes, which is very good at the high school level. His favorite receivers are Arman Sayson who has caught 25 passes for 196 yards and 4 TD’s and Joey Gorte with 16 catches for 195 yards and 1 touchdown. Romero will be the key reason should the Eagles win this contest. Not only is he an accurate passer, he is an outstanding athlete and runner having produced 239 yards on the ground in 63 carries. Last year he nearly beat the Cents single handedly when he unleashed several long runs that befuddled the Centaurs. He will need to do something similar this year to upset Culver City in their quest for a playoff spot.
Coach Shevlin mentioned several other key players but wanted to stress that his team is very young this year. Coach Shevlin said, “We are a pretty young squad. The O line has been the strong point of the season to this point led by our center Gunnar Rogers.”
The beneficiary of this outstanding O line is their running back Arman Easton who the Cents will need to keep in check.
When asked about his defense, he said that linebackers James Amerault and Jackson Ross have been very effective, but we are really young because we start 7 underclassmen. When asked what he thinks about the game, he stated, “We are looking forward to a great challenge that the Centaurs present with their speed and size. Jahmal is doing great things there.”
Last Friday night the Centaurs lost a close game in the last minute against the number 15 ranked Lawndale Cardinals when Zevi Eckhaus had a pass intercepted as he was driving the Cents for a possible tying touchdown. This was an historic game for the Culver City because it was the first time they had been selected to appear on Fox Sports West’s “High School Game of the Week.”
El Segundo lost to Hawthorne in their Ocean League opener 41-28 before crushing Beverly Hills last Friday night 50-0. Both Culver and El Segundo enter this game with a 1-1 record in the Ocean League.
In Coach Wright’s address to the team on Monday, he emphasized that the El Segundo and Hawthorne games are possible “trap” games meaning that the Cents had to take both of these opponents seriously and be focused so that they would avoid any kind of upset that would spoil their season. He said this because there had been so much buildup to the Lawndale game that there could be a possible let down.
Last week it was expected that with the emergence of junior quarterback Nick Lucero, he would again share time with sophomore quarterback Zevi Eckhaus. Lucero had performed so well in his last two starts that he had begun to look like a potential Division 1 prospect. However, Lucero slightly injured his back weight training last week and Coach Wright did not want to take a chance that he would reinjure it in the game, so he held him out. Lucero said that he would be ready to go if called upon.
So far this season Eckhaus has completed 82 of 143 passes (57%) for 1,449 yards and 16 touchdowns, and Lucero has completed 48 of 75 (64%) for 849 yards and 11 touchdowns. Coach Wright felt that they both deserved to play, as they did in the Santa Monica game when they split time equally. Although he has not tipped his hand it is believed that both will play in the El Segundo game.
The Centaur fans were happy to see what a great contribution the likeable Kevin McGuire had against powerhouse Lawndale when he caught several passes for over 100 yards and also played wildcat and ran for a touchdown, threw for a touchdown, caught a touchdown, and threw for a 2-point conversion.
Last week the Centaurs were ranked number 4 in CIF Division 7, but after their loss to Lawndale, they are now ranked number 5.